A Favorite Quote by Ray Bradbury

Quote


“You’ve got to jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” — Ray Bradbury

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Forgiving — Because You Deserve It


Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace. — Unknown

When you are peaceful within, your world is peaceful regardless of how chaotic it may appear.  There is no need to give that peace away.  Not at any time for any reason.  Giving our inner peace away doesn’t resolve issues.  It doesn’t solve problems.  It creates the illusion of a problem and all the destructive thoughts and emotions that go with it.

Allow thoughts that grieve you to blow away on a breeze.  Be at peace.  That’s your True Nature..

10-Word Story Challenge Week #3: Lizards!


A baby Asian house gecko

Welcome to week #3 of the 10-Word Story Challenge.  I’m inviting anyone and everyone to participate.

This week our kitchen has been besieged by baby Asian house geckos so I have lizards on the brain.  I’ve caught 3 just today!  Hence, the subject this week is “… lizard(s)…”  The rules are simple:

  • It will be exactly 10 words.
  • It will be a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an ending.
  • It will be in context to the subject each week.
  • A new challenge will be posted every Wednesday and the deadline will be the following Tuesday at midnight wherever you’re living.
  • Post your 10-word story in the comments of each week’s challenge and feel free to comment on each other’s.

Post your 10-word story below in the comments and be sure to comment on your favorites!  More about the Challenge here.

Let’s have some fun!

Here’s my entry for the week:

Hurry!  Scurry!  Tails wriggling in a flurry as lizards flee.

Authenticity: A Lone Road


“You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding.”  — Terence McKenna

What an amazing quote.  At first it seems circular and almost nonsensical, but as you let the words sink in, you realize they’re true.  I stumbled across this video on another blog, Our Pathway to the Truth, and ironically it touched on a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately; authenticity.

In the course of my evening I had posted a different quote that I found insightful elsewhere on the internet.  I was taken aback when several people chose to dismantle the credibility of the person who I was quoting as if this made the point of the statement have any less weight.  Regardless of who said the words, I found meaning in them.  My meaning.  Something spoke to me and it made sense.  What more than that is required?  I’ll tell you.  Nothing.

This is authenticity.  As Mr. McKenna said, your understanding is the only understanding that can and will ever be useful to you.  This is a responsibility and in my opinion, it’s the greatest one we have.  We’re bombarded constantly by external suggestions on how to think and demands for what to believe.  Tugging and pulling our mind this way and that, it’s no wonder folks end up confused, or even worse, unplugged.  You can’t have the same understanding as those who are pulling and tugging.  It’s just superficial mental manipulation.  What it’s not is authentic.

The short video clip I posted below is part of a powerful speech given by Mr. McKenna several years ago.  In it he suggests that to really understand what’s happening, ideologies have to be examined and often times discarded.  This made something in me shudder.  There are so many ideologies I know I carry because they’re adopted without authentic understanding.  Some of them I’ve grown very attached to.  It’s been a lifetime picking them up like pebbles on the road.

You must be willing to turn these pebbles over, examine them.  Some need to be dropped back to the dust.  Only those pebbles that make sense and have that perfect heft to them need to make it into your pocket.  Be willing to re-examine those when they no longer sit comfortably.  Ideologies that are adopted can only betray authenticity.  They will limit understanding.  They will bog you down.

Understanding isn’t a popularity contest.  It’s not a social club.  It’s a road that’s ultimately walked alone.  It’s your road and no one else’s.  This is the celebration of your uniqueness in a very large universe.

Give this short video a bit of your time and see if shakes something in you too.  If not, drop the pebble back to the dust for someone else to find.  It wasn’t yours to carry.

The Miracle of a Human Birth Filmed via Cinematic MRI


In 2010, doctors announced they had the ability and had recorded the first live human birth via MRI.  Recently, this video was released to the public.  Now we’re able to see the miracle of the human body in action, both mother and child, as the infant is birthed.

According to New Scientist:

The technique… takes repeated images of the same slice of the body before joining them up to create an ultra-detailed video [featured below].

By using MRI, the team was able to examine the relationship between the movement of the fetus and its position as it travels through the birth canal, which should help doctors better manage labour and delivery.

This new use of MRI is not only helpful in understanding the mechanics of labor, but also allows physicians to monitor the anatomical status of infant and mother during delivery.

What a wonder life is… 

 

A paper describing the team’s groundbreaking use of cinematic MRI is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. [Spotted on New Scientist]

Video by Bamberg C, Rademacher G, Güttler F, et al. via unnecessarian

I Thought You Were Real


Like a fool I naively thought you were real
It was a something between us I thought I could feel
I could touch you, hear you, see you were near
But beneath the surface was a growing fear
That “real” was something someone could steal
Leaving a scar that could never be healed

Real was also something I thought that I was
Obviously I’d have to be because
If there was a you, then there must be a me
It’s something we could both plainly see
But something in silence caused me to pause
Making the “you” and the “me” and the “us” just a cause

I had to back up and myself I did ask
“What is real and why did I never attempt this one task?”
It seems who I am can change like the weather
And what I deem real from one day to another
Is equally liable to wear a new mask
So then a conundrum I was left in to bask

If the real me changes from day-to-day
Then who I think you are is also mind-play
The “us” we perceive is a filmy delusion
But still we both love this agreed-on illusion
So resting my heart after much thought I must say
I love you whoever you and I are today

10-Word Story Challenge #2: “Sky”


This is week #2 of the 10-Word Story Challenge.  I’m inviting anyone and everyone to participate.  The subject this week is “… sky…”  The rules are simple:

  • It will be exactly 10 words.
  • It will be a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an ending.
  • It will be in context to the subject each week.
  • A new challenge will be posted every Wednesday and the deadline will be the following Tuesday at midnight wherever you’re living.
  • Post your 10-word story in the comments of each week’s challenge and feel free to comment on each other’s.

Post your 10-word story below in the comments and be sure to comment on your favorites!  More about the Challenge here.

Let’s have some fun!

Here’s my entry for the week:

Looking up, she whispered and waited.  The sky didn’t reply.

Quick and Easy Indian Tomato Soup (Vegetarian)


I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel a little stale posting the same ole stuff, so I’m going to digress a bit with this one.  I certainly don’t want to lose you!  Tonight I’m posting a recipe instead.  I’ve found food to be one of the greatest forces on the planet to pull people together.  It seems no matter how angry anyone is, if you bring up the topic of beloved eats it’s not long before everyone’s smiling and sharing favorites.  So I’m going to share one of my favorites with you!

This is an Indian twist on tomato soup.  It’s not your standard.  This one has a bit of body to it but I absolutely love it.  It’s a rib sticker.  If you’re a vegetarian like we are, it’s a great way to slip some light protein into your meal.  Although I wouldn’t consider this a classical Indian dish, it carries all the techniques and the flavors.  It’s also easy and quick to prepare which is a plus in the summer heat.

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped tomatoes
½ cup yellow moong dal* (also known as split yellow gram)
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 green chilies, chopped
2 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp garam masala
Salt and red chili to taste

Preparation:  (About 30 minutes)

Boil the dal and tomatoes in 4 cups of water.  I use a pressure cooker and give it 4 whistles.  If not, cover and cook until the dal is soft and disintegrating.  When the mixture has finished cooking, puree in a blender and strain the mixture to remove any solids.  Set aside.  Heat your ghee or butter in a skillet fry the onion, chilies and garlic until onions are slightly browned.  Add your strained tomato/dal mixture and your spices.  Heat to bubbling while stirring constantly.  No need to cook it much longer than that.  Can be served with croutons and cream, I prefer parathas and curd.

*Moong dal is a light yellow lentil.  Other yellow lentils could be substituted.  Moong, also known as mung bean, is available at your local Indian market if your grocery store doesn’t carry it.

Faith and the Movie Screen


Havelock’s Joyo Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska

During the course of my free time I like to discuss religions and spirituality with other people.  It’s interesting to me to see all the different ways people make sense of their existence and how they relate to it.  There are as many views as there are individuals so it’s an endless source of fascination for me.  Over the years, I’ve found this brings me more in touch with my own views and understandings.

There has always been one concept that eluded any firm understanding for me.  That was the issue of “Faith”.  Again, it’s a term that holds a highly personal definition and if asked, most folks define it as belief without facts.  That’s never left me feeling satisfied although I understand the premise.  You trust in something you can’t physically see or touch.

Recently, my understanding of Faith has gone deeper.  It happened as I was immersed in the memory of sitting in the Joyo Theater in the little hamlet of Havelock, in Lincoln, Nebraska, when I was 13 or 14 years old.  My friends and I had ridden our bicycles down to the local theater that hot summer’s day, enjoying the ever-expanding freedom of our tender young years, to see the summer blockbuster, Jaws.

I’ve always been very impressionable and the sanity behind this decision, as with many in my life, was lacking in the moment.  But I guess that’s the beauty of youth.  You live in the moment without question.  Until the lights went down and those first eerie thumping strains of music announced the approach of something sinister.  That’s when my heart went into my throat and my popcorn, watery drink and friends went forgotten.  All prior beliefs were suddenly and entirely suspended.  The movie became unerringly and unquestionably real.  The unaware swimmer felt a bump and I swear I felt it too.  I pulled my feet up and tucked them safely under me.  I even remember the crusty and worn feeling of the velvet cushion because in my rising terror it was a brief comfort.  It wasn’t water.  Then came the attack.

My panic surged and ran down my cheeks in the form of tears.  I clinched the sticky arms of my seat.  I wanted to run.  Then something inside me said, “look up.”

Tearing my eyes from the screen I did just that.  I looked up at the flickering beam of light coming from the projectionist’s booth high above me.  And I took a breath.  I have no idea how long I’d been holding it, but that breath was like water to a soul lost in the desert.  I remembered it was just a movie.  Nothing more than the play of light on a screen projected from somewhere else; somewhere unseen.  I had created all that terror all by myself.  I wasn’t in danger.  There was no shark.  No salty ocean.  These things were only dreams in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Our ocean waters were corn and wheat.  Sharks were monsters from dreamland.

It was in the remembering of this moment so long ago that the understanding of “Faith” took concrete form in me.  I realized we view our lives as if we’re watching a movie.  What’s playing on the screen and the theater it’s being viewed in are all different for each one of us.  Whether we subscribe to a god-concept or not is immaterial.  The religion we follow, if we follow one at all, doesn’t matter.  At some point the movie we’re watching becomes too intense, too frightening, too painful and something inside us whispers “look up.”  This is Faith.

We tear our eyes away from the screen, sometimes just for a fleeting moment, to look up at the flickering beam of light coming from somewhere else.  We take a gulp of air and clarity washes away the imagined reality of the movie.  We remember where we are.  It’s just a movie.  We remain unchanged.

Life is our movie theater.  It’s so easy to get swept up into the drama playing out on our respective screens every day that we suspend our innate knowing of who we are and lose ourselves in self-created illusion.  Thoughts and emotions bind us in their unrelenting grip and our reality then becomes as illusory as the “movie” we’re watching.  All we have to do is look up to be reminded it’s just a play of thoughts on a screen.

Breathe and remember who you are.  You are unchanging in a sea of light play.  You are untouchable and Faith is your reminder.

The original popcorn maker in the Joyo Theater

The Trail’s End


The traveler had finally met his match.  The hill was proving to be a formidable opponent as he fought his way up the trail.  He was beat and losing control of his muscles.  His sandals slipped over loose rocks and dirt and he stumbled.  Little coughs of dust to arose from his clothes.  He was caked with the stuff.  He reeked from effort.  Sweat dripped and stung his eyes.  Grunting raggedly, hope was flooding out of him like an open tap.

The hill hadn’t looked so formidable standing at the bottom.  Now it seemed it would rob him of what precious little he had left to give.  Simply put, he underestimated either the hill, himself, or both.  He paused a moment, shielded his eyes against the sun and mentally measured how many more steps he needed to summon.  It looked like it was going to be about 3 too many.  His legs were on fire.  But he’d come too far and too long to quit now.  If he could just reach the top.  He sucked in a breath and jabbed his walking stick into the baked dust, pulling his body back into action.  Every fiber moaned in protest but the shady relief waiting under the oaks at the top spurred him on.  They waved leafy arms at him, beckoning a like cool mistresses knowing his misery.  If he could only reach there.

Drowning in his exhaustion, ruminations floated across his mind like the clouds of dust following at his feet.  He’d been traveling years on this trail.  When he began, he was a young man full of aspirations and dreams.  He had no idea where the trail would lead and he didn’t care.  It was just laid out before him like an extended hand and he couldn’t resist its invitation.  Something, out there, beckoned to his very core.  Now, with each agonizing step an endless tide of doubts rolled through his head:  What am I doing here?  Where am I going?  What will I do when I arrive?  What do I hope to gain?  Will it ever end?

In all fairness, he thought, this trail hadn’t disappointed him.  He had witnessed sights few of his years would ever see.  Sunrises and sunsets.  Storms and gales.  Feasts and famine.  And everything in between.  But it was taking its toll on him.  His feet ached.  His bones ached.  His heart ached.  His mind ached.  Still the trail went on and on as if it was hell-bent on outrunning him.  His greatest hope now was reaching the top and finding the end in sight.  The thought brought on another tidal wave of sickening exhaustion.  It was almost enough to bowl him over.

Focusing all his attention on his feet and their wretched progress his mind fell silent.  Not a thought stirred.  The tidal wave had washed them all away.  Nothing at all whispered to him to but the shuffle and grind of sole and stick on earth.  One foot in front of the other.  One foot in front of the other.  Every stone stared up at him with a cold indifference defying him not to stumble again.  He kicked one in an exasperated puff and watched it roll on ahead.

“Yeah, run you little bastard,” he wheezed through his clenched teeth.

Suddenly it disappeared.  He blinked.  He blinked again.  It had rolled over the horizon.  He looked around bewildered.  He was at the top.

Relief poured over him like cold water but it was short-lived.  He gazed dolefully over the plain.  The end of the trail he had so hoped for, so banked on, was nowhere to be seen.  Like a brown ribbon dropped carelessly over the landscape it led only to another hill.  And then another.  And another.  Something like a hot rock dropped in his stomach.  He began to tremble.  His legs buckled, threatening at last to betray him.

In what he was sure would be his last coherent moment, his eyes found a lush pillow of grass under the nearest oak.  It seemed to reach out to him with promise from every blade.  Dropping like a man who’d been shot through, he plunged face first into the greenness.  The sweet scent rushed into his nostrils and exploded in his mind.  The coolness of the grass was so delicious he was tempted to take a bite.

“Like the old goat you are,” he chuckled, rolling to his back.

He laid there for how long he knew not.  It didn’t matter anymore.  The sun flirted down, coyly twinkling between the leaves, mesmerizing his spent brain.  The soft grass gave succor to his aching body and the hilltop breeze caressed his brow.  He melted into the moment with such totality it overwhelmed him into blindness.  Then, in the moment of utter surrender, realization came like a sigh.  He understood.

“I am all this and all this is me,” he breathed.

He began to laugh.